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Review by Daniel Jackson
Bob Dylan rolled into the LA area and again, opened the shared billing
with Phil Lesh. As I walked through the parking lot and into my seat
in the orchestra section (thanks to Bobdylan.com for offering the ticket
presale) I noticed that this was a very, very different crowd for an LA
Dylan show. The sport jackets, slick hair and cell phones has been
swapped for tie-dye, dreads and bongs. I'm not sure if the low ticket
prices (no more than $50) or Phil Lesh was responsible for this shift,
but it made for a responsive crowd. At least lively once they got into
their seats. Poor Bob came onstage shortly after the scheduled 7:00 p.m.
time to be greeted by a more-than-half-empty stadium. As mentioned in
previous reviews, I don't think people are aware that Bob is opening;
that coupled with the early start time and LA traffic will probably
account for the people filing in until even the very end of his set.
Ah, the set. Well, it was pretty standard for what he's been doing on
this stretch with Lesh. The old covers that Bob has been harvesting from
the hills were quite nice, as this was my first exposure to Duncan &
Brady, Lucky Old Son and Searching For My Grave. I look forward to
hearing them again in the next couple of nights after having a chance
to digest them. Most of the set was filled with standard readings of,
well, some of his standards like Masters of War, Tangled Up in Blue,
Like A Rolling Stone and Highway 61 Revisited. The highlight came four
songs in with Don't Think Twice (It's Alright). A very lively
arrangement performed by a very lively Dylan. Much to my amusement,
he spent a good part of the song singing directly to a blonde-haired,
pig-tailed cutie. He concluded the song with a spectacular harmonica
demonstration that went from deep, knee-bending low blows to stretching
tip-toe fire that reached far beyond the last seats. Just amazing.
On Tell Me That It Isn't True, Bob went back to the ladies in front.
Leopard-Skinned Pill-box Hat also had a nice, easy, rolling flow that
still managed to pack the same punch as the other Rainy Day Women #12
&35-sounding arrangement. Forever Young and the closer, Blowin' In
The Wind were incredibly tender performances that sure hit the spot
for me, although, I think the crowd wanted something more rowdy to
carry them into the Lesh performance. I personally prefer the mood
rollercoaster that Bob takes us on.
Review by Brian Essex
It was a beautiful night in Irvine, California tonight. I have not heard
Bob in an outdoor venue since the first time I saw him. The amphitheater
in Irvine has upgraded the acoustics (it must be from the influx of cash
from Airtouch AKA Verizon Wireless. The sun was still bright and shiny
when Bob and the band arrived on stage. The show was about twenty minutes
late, because all of the Dead-Heads were still in the parking lot buying
T-shirts, beer or hemp (and not necessarily in that order I might add)!
Bob has shown what a true Gentleman he is by letting Phil and his band
open all of the shows on this tour. I have heard through the rumor mill
that he wants to give them their moment in the sun on this tour. Anyway
to the show!
Bob and the band had tremendous energy opening with "Duncan and Brady" and
"That Lucky Old Sun." Next was a true gem for me. "Masters of War" is a
personal favorite of mine and was done in a mellow way compared to the
angry studio versions I have heard previously. "Tangled Up In Blue,"
"Searching form a Soldiers Grave," "Country Pie" and "Tell Me It Isn't
True"were excellent selections to the set list.
Next another great moment for me "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We
Never Met)" is another of my all time favorites of mine and was performed
wonderfully. "Drifter's Escape was next followed by "Leopard-Skin
Pill-Box Hat." Is it me or does Bob just love performing "Leopard?"
Now it encore time! "Things have changed was great" just like on the
radio. Finally, the crowd got some energy flowing with "Like a Rolling
Stone." It's about time the crowd matched Bob and the bands energy. To
finish off a great set "Forever Young," "Highway 61" and "Blowin' In the
Wind." Great set guys!
I can't wait until Saturday in Del Mar! I have only one complaint. I
that Bob is playing with Phil, but the Dead-Heads are killing me. Most of
them sit in the audience waiting for Phil and do not get up to groove with
Bob. Come on guys! Jerry was phenomenal, but he died. Please thrust
yourself into Bob you wont leave unsatisfied. He is the most influential
musician in rock and roll (past and present). Dead fans: put down your
pipes, get into the venue on time, sing along to the songs you know and
have a great experience! To all you Dylan fans: Keep on rocking!
Tonight was a blast and I am sure Friday and Saturday will be too!
Brian C. Essex
Review by Kathy Coffard
I'm no critic, but I know what I like. I liked Dylan last night at the
Verizon in Irvine. The gates opened at 5:30. At 6:20, I was permitted to
look at my $250 second row dead center pit seat. I was maybe 10 feet from
the stage and Dylan's mike was maybe 6 feet from the periphery. A big old
security guard told me only the 70 chosen in the pit could stand by the
stage, the other 15,000 couldn't. Cool. Elitist? Like I give a fuck.
I came to worship at the alter of Dylan and Lord know I've paid some
dues gettin' thru.
He came on at 7:22 wearing a new version of the black suit with cowboy
white piping down the pants and at the collar and pointy toed two tone
boots. He wore an older version last year when he toured with Paul Simon.
It had seen better days and done finer things, and looked old worn like
the Dylan himself.
He did Duncan & Brady first, an old Leadbelly song I'd never heard
before. It's one of those Stagalee ballads about the badass dude getting
mowed down with a big .45. DYLAN LIVES. Make no mistake. Gone was the I
hate being here, fuck you all, I needs me another shot glazed look. The man
was INTENSE. Into it. Firing sound bits into the air like so many homing
missiles raging right on target from a heart on fire.
Next was That Lucky Old Sun: Up in the mornin', Work like the devil
for my pay, But the lucky old sun got nothin' to do, But roll abound heaven
all day," etc. This tune topped the charts in 1949.
The minute The Man appeared, the hippie turned yuppie but Forever Dylan
folks rose to boogie, including the 70 pit people. Me, I stood near him
closer than anyone and just stared.
Dylan was into it in a Dylanesque way. Sweat dripped down the black
shirt and onto the guitar. When he shook his head the drops glowed halo like
around him. For Dylan, he was downright animated. For another performer
one would have found the man and his movements stilted, unnatural and very
strange indeed. But he ain't no one else and though he wasn't exactly
gyrating all over the place, Bob had rhythm.
He didn't come across as the blissful musician or even the contented one
who reveled in the adulation, but as a man who finally understands what he
IS to the fans. We got our big thrill, granted by the benevolent master
who gave it up because he knew we was ayearnin'. So he delivered his
masterpiece unto the faithful, not all slick and shiny and MTVie but raw
and bare. Yet still he maintained the emotional detachment: We only saw
what he wanted us to see.
So I kept a silent motionless vigil at his feet while they partied all
around. And then the unexpected happened. He walked straight from the mike to
within 3 feet of me and smiled, kinda bended down on one knee, guitar held
forward. It was not your usual smile, but a Dylan expression: unmistakably
present yet only half there. People congratulated me like I'd won the lottery
Now when I go down to the parlor to relive my dreams, I'm gonna have a
Review by Seetee
Ok so Duprix gives me a call & says we are driving up to catch Bob. Good
tickets still at the box-office, cool. Off to local spot for a beer &
some buffalo wings. Roll on to the venue - beautiful CA eve. - mellow &
unrushed - seems like more deadheads w/ Bob opening we are in luck.
Strange audience, skinny guy in the straw cowboy hat looks like the only
bobster to me.But when the band hits we just move on down to about 6 rows
from the stage, oh yeah. What could be better! What is this opener? I
dunno, but the band sure looks good w/ the suits & Bob w/ his cowboy
boots. Maybe it is cuz we have good seats but you can see Bob *enjoys
this* Every time he gets a riff going or tries something out he has a
raised eyebrow or smile - my revelation. Lucky Old Sun & we are in tin pan
alley, on to MoW & then donıt think twice - Bob pulls out the harp, goes
into a crouch as he hits it - what a showman! TUiB, unlike Duprix, not one
of my favs but Bob hits a few grooves to make it new as Ezra Pound would
require. Now what the heck is this thing that follows? Thanks Bob for
this, CA showman channeling Appalachian roots or what while the blonde mom
down the row smiles her appreciation. Roots to country pie works for me
we got a goddang continent here in spite of the proxmity of LA - no shit I
spot some jerk on his cell phone during the set, but that is mist compared
to the sweet dark-skinned young thing doing her bliss dance a row back for
most of the show, when we hit down in the flood it Bob is totally kicking
ass and hits some grooves that astound - he is *ON* tonight and the crowd
is rockin with this one! Same take no prisoners, whipping out the harp on
next tune & again on Drifters Escape, rocking hard & on onto pill box
hat...just when I am feeling too old & out of date comes an encore w/
things have changed & damn Bob is right again! Even if I donıt wanna hear
LaRS there is a rush as the audience gets into it how does it feeeeel?
Then 4-ever young, so poignant as the dad & young son down the row have
high-5ıd a few times this eve , hwy 51 rocks the crowd & BitW now has all
the boyzinnband anthemic voices together blowin in the windı Just as the
no-shows show up at their primo seats for the Bob show they missed - ³did
he play lay lady lady?² no joke, she asks us this! And we depart off down
the freeway wondering what treats to anticipate at the Del Mar fair with
the sheep- shearing, pig races, cotton candy & vegotomatic sales..........
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